Red Roof Inn discovers guests want more outlets

It’s no easy thing for a budget hotel chain to refashion itself as a cool place to crash. But while it was upgrading hotel rooms with its “NextGen” redecorating package, Red Roof Inn’s management discovered something interesting: While travelers appreciate expensive doodads like flat-screen TVs and the personal coffee brewer, the one amenity they really dig is… a few extra electrical outlets, reports Adweek.

Red Roof’s upgraded locations (so far about 150 of its 350 locations) have a cluster of four electrical outlets built right into the front of the nightstands, right at waist level. While the extra wiring was a pretty small upgrade compared to the more high-profile amenities like the mini fridges and porcelain vessel sinks, “the plugs have been the most commented on” by guests, CMO Marina MacDonald told Adweek. That's right, plugs rule. “Sometimes the smallest things get the biggest results.

That wasn’t the only change Andrew Alexander, president of the Red Roof Inn budget hotel chain, a $24 strip of electrical outlets proved to be the killer room addition. The cost to upgrade each room runs as high as $10,000 — and nowhere has the return on investment been better than those inexpensive power strips fitted on nightstands, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Can you imagine all those people in fancy hotel rooms crawling around the floor looking for a plug?” said a bemused Alexander, a former corporate attorney, to Businessweek. “Everyone travels with their gadgets.”

Red Roof’s revamp also tossed in a fifth electrical outlet in the lamp just above the nightstand on the wall-mounted lamp — enough to let even a whole family of techies recharge together.